The War for Top Talent…Don’t be left behind!

As we all know, the last few years have been extremely challenging.  Businesses have had to downsize, right-size, restructure, re-brand, and basically do whatever it takes to survive.  Some made it through and some did not.  The companies that are still standing today, congratulations!  You have managed your way through one of the most difficult economies our country has ever experienced and you are on the road to recovery.  Demand for your products and services are on the rise.

Now what?

One of the first challenges most businesses are facing during this recovery is how to rebuild their team.    For the past few years owners and managers have been able to operate “lean and mean.”  They cut staff back to the bare minimum and asked those remaining employees to step up and do more to “help us through these tough times.”  This strategy was necessary and most likely successful.  However, business is now starting to pick up.  The work load on existing employees is at an all-time high and they are feeling it.  With the job market slowly making a shift back in the positive direction, companies are gaining confidence and adding to their core personnel.  It is time to start investing back into your work force.

Simultaneously, candidates are gaining confidence in the job market.  They are more open to looking at other opportunities and not “just happy to have a job.”  Many employees that stayed on through the difficult time are now testing the waters.  Additionally, candidates are regaining some leverage in the hiring process and their position of value is increasing.

So what does this all mean for hiring managers?  Well, it means many positive things, but specific to the recruitment process it means THE WAR FOR TOP TALENT IS ON!  Over the past few years hiring managers have been able to be very selective and take their time when hiring for open positions.  Their pool of candidates were full of top talent and with so few positions available, they were in the driver’s seat.  If one candidate turned down an offer, there were three or four other qualified candidates in a position to accept.   Companies have also been able to hold on to top talent due to the employees’ fear of change during difficult times.  The tide is turning.

So, what can be done?  First, take a look at your current hiring process.  Where can you tighten it up so you don’t lose top talent to delays and red tape?  Where can you speed up the decision process so you can CLOSE ON TOP TALENT QUICKLY?  Change your mind set from “let’s see what else is out there” to “let’s hire talent when we see it.”  If you have a candidate that meets all your requirements, is a good culture fit and has proven accomplishments…HIRE THEM!  If you don’t, someone else will.  Also, meet with your current core staff to make sure they are happy and challenged.  Do you need to make some changes to keep them?  Again, if you don’t make sure they’re happy, someone else will.

The war is on. Are you prepared?

 Written by Bill Emerson